A Florida man was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Jan. 22 after pleading guilty to selling a fatal dose of heroin laced with fentanyl.
Calvin Warren, Jr., 37, admitted to second-degree murder in the overdose death of Thomas Matuseski in 2018. Warren is the first person to be charged with murder connected to an overdose in Palm Beach County.
The victim helped others dealing with addiction
Police say a roommate found Matuseski, 36, unresponsive on his bedroom floor. A toxicology report showed fentanyl and other drugs in his system. Matuseski worked at a drug rehabilitation center where he helped other people with addictions.
Court documents say Warren admitted that he sent Matuseski a text asking him if he was still alive after learning that the heroin he sold him contained fentanyl. He also warned him not to do too much of the drug because he didn’t want him to die.
Fentanyl deaths continue to rise
Florida officials say 2,348 people died in the state from fentanyl overdoses in 2018, and Palm Beach County had the highest number of deaths with 278 fatalities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 47% increase in deaths involving fentanyl from 2016 to 2017.
Authorities step up enforcement efforts
Along with a sharp increase in deaths related to fentanyl use, the FBI reported a rise in drug arrests in 2018, after three years of declines. The agency reported 1,654,282 U.S. drug arrests, with the majority involving marijuana but also an uptick in arrests for synthetic or manufactured drugs like fentanyl.
Prosecutors in the state are becoming more aggressive in drug possession and trafficking cases. If you are charged with a felony drug offense, you face a lengthy prison sentence and other harsh consequences. Consult an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.